Piotrowski v. Menard, Inc., No. 15-3163 (7th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Piotrowski, walking in the parking lot at a Menard's store, stepped on one or two small rocks that she had not seen. She fell, very hard, outside the store entrance. About 50-125 feet away, there is a large concrete planter, containing decorative “river rock.” The store’s front end manager had seen children in the planter on occasion. Menard also sold decorative river rock. The store’s general manager walked the store’s premises, including the parking lot, daily. Other employees also walked through the parking lot throughout the day and were responsible for reporting hazards. Piotrowski went by ambulance to the hospital after her fall and was treated for fracture, torn ligaments, and dislocation of her right elbow. Her injuries required four additional hospitalizations and three more surgeries within one year. The district court rejected Piotrowski’s negligence claims on summary judgment. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Piotrowski’s belief that she fell as a result of the store’s negligence is speculation. That Piotrowski fell in the parking lot after slipping on two rocks is not enough to support an inference that Menard’s negligence caused the fall. There was no evidence of a pattern of conduct or recurring incident; the store’s manager and employees regularly monitored the parking lot for unsafe conditions.